Still on Holiday
I'm "in transit" in Singapore for a few days, before I fly back to Japan. Am feeling utterly relaxed right now, lulled by the delicious tropical air that my skin, funnily enough, always responds happily toward. It must be the residual Singaporean in my blood. Yet, if I were a true Singaporean, I'd be frowning ferociously and bitching about the heat and the humidity, but, weirdest of all, wearing jeans regardless. I really noticed that, this time round: Southeast Asians somehow find donning long pants on a juicy, 35'C day tolerable. I have no problem with juicy, 35'C days, but the whole joy of this kind of weather is the freedom to shed all those cloying layers, to rejoice in Le Summer Wardrobe.
Ah well, whatever makes you happy.
The battery in my trusty cell phone died and refuses to be recharged, so I've been forced to borrow my mother's super-duper camera, which is so damn good, I swear to god, when I took a picture of a leaf and blew it up on screen, I actually witnessed photosynthesis taking place. So any inferior pictures in this post are entirely due to my own preposterous photography skills and Hello's (or Blogger's) refusal to allow too high a resolution of images to be uploaded (they blurred my photos, damn them!).
These lush jungle shots are actually just of the sturdy plants sprouting from a narrow string of dirt on my parents' balcony. Add a little breeze and sparkling sunshine, and I can practically hear the coconuts thudding to the ground and the ocean swooshing in the background. Unfortunately, my pseudo tropical vacation has been marred by the fact that it's rained every single day since I got here. "We live in a catchment area," my dad explains, and I have no clue what that means, except that any more of this water and the whole apartment is going to one day let out a horrible creak like Noah's ark, uproot, and drift away. Hell, today it was actually sunny and blue-skied, and it still rained. It's like that episode of the My Little Pony cartoon that featured a cursed leprechaun who walked around with a fat little rain cloud permanently hovering over his head--I've come to imagine being in a catchment area to mean something similar.
My Singapore post would not be complete without a little food review, and so I give you: Hock Lam Street Popular Beef Kway Teow (since 1921)!
Okay, here's what you're looking at in this picture (above): The blue thing at the top is just a Chinese spoon. To the left are beef balls, and, just like fishballs or meatballs, they have nothing to do with testicles, although whenever there's ground-up meat involved, I guess one can never be too certain. Well, beef balls are really tasty, so, whatever. There's also a little bit of sliced beef on the right. The white-ish squiggly thing on top of the sliced beef is a salty pickle called kiam chai. And underneath the beefy brown sauce--mmmm, delicious--is your noodles.
There are about six or eight choices of beef kway teow to choose from, and you can have yours "dry" (the one in all these pictures is "dry") or in "soup." You can also substitute the ribbon-like kway teow with a round-stranded rice noodle, as can be seen below:
If you order dry, you'll still get a little bowl of the consommé-ish (in consistency but much richer flavor-wise) beef soup, and I always ladle a few spoonfuls into my noodles to lighten up the sauce a little. I also add a good dose of chilli sauce and a spoonful of cincaluk, which is a soupy, fermented prawn sauce that is a bit tangy and maybe a little scary smelling/looking for first-timers:
Those black specks are the little prawns' eyes.